Friday 17 June
Today our Camino adventure starts as we head off to Pamplona to begin our walk. We have been staying in Hotel HCC Montblanc, it has been a great choice - a short walk to Placa Catalunya, the Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. We have thoroughly enjoyed our 24 hours in Barcelona, Now off we go.....
It was a short walk around the corner to Locker Barcelona where our suitcases will be stored while we do our walk. Having dropped our luggage off we grabbed some breakfast at a nearby coffee/pastry shop and then headed back to the hotel to pick up our ruck-sacks and check-out before setting off on our first official walk, ruck-sacks on back. We walked 3.5kms to the station, stopping at a supermarket on the way to buy some lunch to eat on the train. At the station we went to the loo - a lot easier said than done with a large ruck-sack on your back... I almost became awkwardly wedged between the loo door and the wall, but managed to extricate myself before panic set in.... yeah, I'm such a newbie at this...!
The train ride was very pleasant, through strange moonscape-like scenery and then green foliage as we neared Pamplona. We saw a couple of pilgrims as we got off the train and headed into the drizzle for the +-3km walk to our hotel. I felt such excitement as we entered the city walls of Pamplona - after all the months of preparation this is real, we are here!
The drizzle turned into a steady rain and we arrived at our hotel looking like drowned rats.
We are staying at Hotel Yoldi, it's a comfortable hotel in a fairly convenient location, but somewhat removed from the heart of Pamplona where all the restaurants and shops are.
We had some difficulty finding somewhere to have dinner, there weren't many restaurants open near the hotel. We found a bar/tapas bar type place, but having watched us poring over the menus for a looooong time, trying to translate it with our smart-phones using Google Translate (why didn't we take our online Spanish lessons more seriously? Flip! It's a bit of a minefield... there's stuff like Pig's cheeks and tripe balls on this menu!) when we finally approached the person behind the bar to order, he told us the kitchen was closed. Seriously?! Like he couldn't have said that at the outset when he delivered our drinks??!
We eventually found our way to the heart of the old town and discovered many lovely restaurants. We chose a nice tapas bar (pinchos here in Pamplona I believe) where we enjoyed some tapas and a couple of beers. We then wandered through a lovely artisinal food-market set out in the main square. Such a pity about the relentless rain.
Before making our way back to our hotel we went to the Camino shop where we had a nice browse and bought a couple of things. Then it was time for bed! It's unexpectedly cold and miserable... wasn't Spain supposed to be hot?